Coronation Chicken Salad

This Coronation Chicken Salad is a stalwart recipe. It comes with me to every picnic or gathering where I am required to bring food. I never grow tired of it as it’s light, fresh and full of flavour thanks to the curried roasted chicken thighs which are simply out of this world.

Coronation Chicken Salad

This post is a week late which pretty much sums up the kind of life I’m living right now. If I appear to be on time for anything then it’s probably because my watch has stopped meaning something else for me to add to the never ending to do list.

Coronation Chicken Salad

Coronation Chicken Salad

I can’t complain though because it’s been a fantastic week, full of cake, balloons, party hats and bubbles. Yes, the Queen celebrated her 90th birthday at the weekend but in the Hartley household there was another more meaningful birthday this week as Cole turned a full 1 year old. With that I break down into floods of nostalgic tears for little newborn tootsies, tightly curled fingers, sleepy little yawns and without question the endless days where I held onto him contentedly on the sofa, surrounded by cushions, digestive biscuits and binge watching my Gilmore Girls DVDs.

Coronation Chicken Salad

So I haven’t watched a DVD since 2015 and these days Cole pretty much refuses to be held at all, shooting off my lap or out of the pram or out of the car seat as he practices using his wobbly little legs, inching closer and closer to walking. My life mostly involves careening about the house rescuing him from whatever danger he seems to be courting next. I also had to buy him his first pair of shoes as well this week to protect his feet which were getting filthy from London terrain. So it’s milestone after milestone and I’m struggling to keep up.

Coronation Chicken Salad

We celebrated his birthday by taking a hoard of North London mummies and babies to London Zoo along with a giant picnic and we had such an excellent day, even if he did nap through most of the animals. It was a truly British summer day and I made this Coronation Chicken Salad for us all to share. Actually it was a lazy choice of salad as it’s the one I bring to every large picnic gathering and I’ve been meaning to blog about for ages. It’s easy to make, so delicious and good with or without the rice to bulk it out. Even though it’s a mildly spiced coronation chicken, meaning that it’s suitable for adults and babies alike, it is certainly not lacking in flavour due to the freshly ground spices and tangy with lime and yoghurt to make up the dressing along with the usual mayo.

So happy birthday to Her Royal Highness but more importantly to My Royal Highness. It’s been an amazing, non-stop, emotional rollercoaster of a year but one I really don’t want to disembark from.

Print Recipe
Coronation Chicken Salad
Light fresh and modern take on Coronation Chicken. There's a reason it's a classic.
Coronation Chicken Salad
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
8-10 people
Ingredients
Curry Paste:
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • seeds from 3 cardamom pods
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
Salad
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 300 ml natural yoghurt
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 225 g wholegrain basmati and wild rice mix cooked according to packet instructions, then cooled
  • 8 dried apricots finely chopped
  • 4 spring onions finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli seeds removed and finely sliced
  • two large handfuls of mixed baby leaves
  • large handful of coriander leaves
  • 50 g flaked almonds toasted
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds black or white
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
8-10 people
Ingredients
Curry Paste:
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • seeds from 3 cardamom pods
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
Salad
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 300 ml natural yoghurt
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 225 g wholegrain basmati and wild rice mix cooked according to packet instructions, then cooled
  • 8 dried apricots finely chopped
  • 4 spring onions finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli seeds removed and finely sliced
  • two large handfuls of mixed baby leaves
  • large handful of coriander leaves
  • 50 g flaked almonds toasted
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds black or white
Coronation Chicken Salad
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C
  2. First make the curry paste by grinding together the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds and cardamom seeds until fine using a spice grinder or a pestle and mortar. Tip into a large bowl and add the turmeric, ginger, garlic powder, salt and mix well. Remove 1 tablespoon of the spices and set aside in a small bowl for later.
  3. Stir the coconut oil into the rest of the spice mix until a thick paste has been formed.
  4. Rub the paste all over the chicken thighs until they are evenly covered. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes then remove from the oven and scatter over the sesame seeds, place back into the oven, turn the heat up to 220°C and roast for a further 15 minutes. Remove and leave the chicken until cool enough to handle then shred the meat and crisp skin from the bones. Place in a bowl whilst you prepare the dressing.
  5. To make the dressing whisk together the mayonnaise, yoghurt, lime juice and almond butter with the reserved tablespoon of the spice mix.
  6. Mix the chicken, the cooked rice, the chopped apricots, spring onions and chilli in with dressing until completely covered.
  7. Toss the baby leaves and coriander leaves together in a large bowl then add in the coronation chicken, mixing lightly so the leaves don’t get too heavy with the dressing.
  8. To serve, scatter over the flaked almonds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.

Chicken Fajita Wild Rice Soup

Chicken Fajita Wild Rice Soup is the perfect mid-week dinner. Packed with flavour, fresh, comforting and fully satisfying.

Chicken Fajita and Wild Rice Soup

I love it when a quick midweek meal suddenly reveals itself to be an absolute stunner out of nowhere. When I’m slamming ingredients left and right into a saucepan, keen to get dinner on the table in under twenty minutes then I can’t always be bothered to taste here, adjust for seasoning there. The salt and pepper get tossed into the pot mercilessly so it’s anyone’s guess on whether I have got the balance right until we’re tucking in on the sofa.

I think it adds to the excitement of dinner time; will I have got a bit heavy handed with the cumin again? Or perhaps a little under handed with the chilli? Almost certainly. Once the first few bites are underway Luke usually has to get back up to get something, salt, tabasco, sriracha; usually salt. I am obstinate that I got it right first time so will rarely return to the kitchen, oh yes and I’m lazy.

Chicken Fajita and Wild Rice Soup

So when I got everything bang on last Wednesday we were all pretty shocked. I was perhaps a little offended that Luke felt the need to repeat more than once how actually this was a really delicious dinner and I felt he really hammed up the yummy noises. I pride myself on being a bit of a cook it so happens and this didn’t particularly fill me with confidence about my usual offerings. I begrudgingly agreed though, this Chicken Fajjita and Wild Rice Soup one was definitely a keeper and as I was on a roll I made it the next couple of nights for good measure, but I didn’t get such resounding applause the second or third times and the yummy noises definitely receeded. Spoilsport.

I do not underestimate the foundation of a really good stock in this (or any) soup and I hit the motherload when I found the last of the ham stock lurking at the back of the freezer from Christmas. However, if you can only get your hands on some supermarket standby or a stock cube then the smoky triumvirate of chipotle, smoked garlic powder and sweet paprika will mean you don’t miss out too much.

Chicken Fajita and Wild Rice Soup

The beauty of this soup was that I basically just made chicken fajitas, frying off a load of onions, peppers and smoky spiced chicken then added stock and a mix of basmati and wild rice. Really the whole thing was a charmed idea from the off. However I will not lie to you, this soup is pretty much all about the toppings and I think it’s important to load your finished soup up with all the good stuff you would normally put on your fajitas. Let that bowl overflow my friend, there is no judgement here.

We are looking for textures and flavours in our toppings and since my fridge is always stocked with coriander, avocado, limes and sour cream, as I crave fajitas often, there was no question that they would insist on getting involved. As luck would have it I am having a bit of a moment with pumpkin seeds so they got shovelled on top and it turned out they added a much needed crunch to the proceedings. Salty sharp feta also turned out to be perfection since it is a pretty good substitution for proper authentic Mexican cheese and it just so happened I got some in this week. If not, cheddar would have sufficed.

Chicken Fajita and Wild Rice Soup

I feel like the whole dinner was kismet but even if you don’t have any of the ingredients to hand at all then I urge you to put them on your next shopping list as this soup is so good that it’s definitely worth planning for.

Print Recipe
Chicken Fajita Wild Rice Soup
A flavour packed soup, fresh, comforting and fully satisfying.
Chicken Fajita Wild Rice Soup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
4 people
Ingredients
  • 450 g chicken breast cubed
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo
  • 1 teaspoon smoked garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced finely
  • ½ red pepper sliced finely
  • ½ yellow pepper sliced finely
  • ½ green pepper sliced finely
  • 100 g sweetcorn kernals
  • Juice of ½ orange
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 200 g wild and basmati rice mix cooked
  • Optional Toppings: crumbled feta,sour cream, sliced avocado, pumpkin seeds, fresh coriander
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
4 people
Ingredients
  • 450 g chicken breast cubed
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo
  • 1 teaspoon smoked garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced finely
  • ½ red pepper sliced finely
  • ½ yellow pepper sliced finely
  • ½ green pepper sliced finely
  • 100 g sweetcorn kernals
  • Juice of ½ orange
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 200 g wild and basmati rice mix cooked
  • Optional Toppings: crumbled feta,sour cream, sliced avocado, pumpkin seeds, fresh coriander
Chicken Fajita Wild Rice Soup
Instructions
  1. Combine the chipotle, garlic powder, paprika, cumin and coriander together then rub into the cubed chicken. Set aside whilst you get the soup started.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large wide bottomed saucepan then when hot add the onion and peppers and gently fry for about 15 minutes until softened and just starting to catch.
  3. Add the chicken and the sweetcorn and mix in.
  4. Pour over the orange juice, lime juice and the stock and bring everything back up the boil. Once it’s there, turn down to simmer for about 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Stir in the cooked rice then divide between the bowls, topping up with as many accoutrements as your bowls can handle.

Roast Chicken and Feta Salad with Minted Yoghurt Dressing

Chicken and Feta Salad with Minted Yoghurt Dressing

This salad was borne from a desire to use up leftover roast chicken but was such a treat that I made a huge batch of it again the next day, this time roasting up a couple of chicken breasts especially for the event.

Now, I’m not one for do-ahead salads. For starters I don’t like cold salads, they need to be brought up to room temperature first so by the time you’ve decided you’re hungry you might as well have knocked it together there and then rather than twiddling your fingers for half an hour whilst the chill is knocked off your lunch.

Pre-dressed salads are also usually a problem, as heavy dressings render delicate leaves a soggy mulch, or worse if there’s garlic involved create a pungency to the whole affair which detracts from the light bright flavours you began with. My Chicken and Feta Salad with Minted Yoghurt encountered no such issues though and after having made a fair amount to last for a few days I popped it, dressing and all, into the fridge until I was ready to eat it over the next few days.

Chicken and Feta Salad with Minted Yoghurt Dressing

This salad holds no leaves to wilt or garlic to intoxify so the fresh flavours are kept intact. In fact, they are improved upon as the feta simply soaks up flavour so over the next couple of days it took on more depth from the lemon and mint. There is also no oil in the dressing so there is no chance of the dressing weighing down the other ingredients.

Okay, so I did have to take my salad out of the fridge for a bit so the flavours could re-ignite in room temperature but after about 15 minutes of impatience I dove in and found I hadn’t lost anything in its preservation.

Chicken and Feta Salad with Minted Yoghurt Dressing

Now you must be fussy when gathering ingredients for this salad, not only should you insist upon the best tomatoes you can find and of course organic free-range chicken, bone intact and skin on so it retains moisture during its roasting, but this salad also benefits hugely from the inclusion of extremely good feta. Supermarket feta is so hit and miss, more often than not a bit dry and crumbly and until you’ve overdosed on the good stuff in Greece you may not even know how much you like it. I am lucky though to be within spitting distance of Ally Pally farmers’ market on a Sunday where there is an excellent producer eager to offload his wonderful olives, pickled garlic and sundried tomato antipasti. It’s his feta that is the star of the show though, tangy, dense and sublimely creamy, although you have to get to the market early as he always sells out.

Chicken and Feta Salad with Minted Yoghurt Dressing

Roast Chicken and Feta Salad with Minted Yoghurt Dressing

Serves 2

2 chicken breasts on the bone
2 teaspoons olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
150g cucumber, halved and de-seeded
200g tomato, roughly chopped
3 celery sticks, sliced thinly
½ red onion, halved and sliced thinly
120g feta

For the dressing:
1 tablespoon yoghurt
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
good handful of fresh mint leaves, diced finely
juice of ½ lemon
1/8 teaspoon salt
pepper

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Mix the olive oil and lemon juice with some seasoning then rub all over the chicken breasts.
  3. Place in a roasting tray and roast in the oven for 40 minutes, basting halfway through.
  4. Remove the chicken from the oven and leave to rest whilst you prepare the rest of the salad.
  5. Toss the cucumber, tomatoes, celery and red onion in a large bowl and crumble over the feta.
  6. In a separate small bowl whisk together all your dressing ingredients and pour most of it evenly over the salad.
  7. Toss it all together and heap into bowls.
  8. Remove the chicken from the bone, then slice and serve over the salad, drizzling over a final bit of dressing.

Lemon, Honey and Sesame Chicken

Lemon Honey and Sesame Chicken - a quick, easy and delicious gluten-free dinner
Chinese means Valentines Day to us. There have only been a couple of times where we have bothered booking somewhere smart and fancy, but really set menus and other couples don’t really signify romance to me. On Valentines Day you will either find us holed up in Chinatown where you can always get a table, a huge dinner and unobtrusive service or at home cooking a banquet together where the emphasis is not on the end result but the act of cooking as a couple.

In fact one of my most memorable Valentines nights was when we decided to cook ourselves a night out in Chinatown. We mixed over-the-top cocktails that insisted upon using every alcoholic drink in our cabinet and was tantalisingly aqua marine with umbrellas and glace cherries. We drank these far too quickly whilst pouring over Chinese cookbooks and making a royal mess as well as sesame prawn toasts, char siu pork, egg fried rice and broccoli in oyster sauce. We finished with the requisite deep fried bananas which always ensures a blistered tongue and vanilla ice cream which melted as soon as it hit the bananas.

Spending hours in the kitchen isn’t as fun as it normally is at the moment with my increasing bump getting in the way of the kitchen counter, my lower back threatening to give out at any minute and bending down to get my bottom kitchen cabinets requiring about five minutes of recuperation time. So, we need to make haste with our Valentines preparations and there is no quicker and more delicious Chinese dish to make at home than this Lemon, Honey and Sesame Chicken. It’s a meal that I can happily make for the two of us, or if Luke is away then just me on my lonesome, it really is that little bother. Not to mention it tastes a million times better than the bland and greasy MSG filled takeaway at the end of the phone.

Lemon Honey and Sesame Chicken  - a quick, easy and delicious gluten-free dinner

Lemon, Honey and Sesame Chicken

Serves 4 (or 2 with plenty of yummy leftovers so you can have cold Chinese the next morning)

4 boneless chicken thighs with skin, diced
1 lemon
3 tablespoons cornflour
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari or coconut aminos)
3 tablespoons sesame seeds

  1. Place the cornflour, five-spice, garlic powder, zest of the lemon and salt in a bowl and whisk together until evenly mixed.
  2. Toss the diced chicken into the cornflour mixture until thoroughly coated.
  3. Heat up the coconut oil in a large wide bottomed saucepan or wok until hot then add the chicken, cooking on a medium to hot temperature until crispy and cooked through.
  4. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  5. Whisk the honey, soy sauce and juice from half of the lemon together until combined then pour into the pan. Bubble up for a minute then add the chicken back in along with the sesame seeds and cook for a further minute until piping hot.
  6. Serve with rice stir-fried with beansprouts, spring onions and soy sauce.

Cashew Chicken Satay with Carrot and Coriander Salad

Cashew Chicken Satay with Carrot and Coriander Salad

The deli counter was a big thing growing up. It was my favourite destination during our weekly trips to the supermarket and it was here that my sister and I were allowed to choose one treat to snack on in the car on the way home. I always, without a doubt, chose the chicken satay. Thinly skewered pieces of cooked dry chicken covered with a tasteless spices and rammed onto cocktail sticks. I loved them. I have no idea if you can still buy them anymore but I remember as soon as Mum had loaded the car up with the shopping, I would rummage carelessly through them for my promised chicken satay. As I clambered into the car I was already tearing the label in half which held the wimpy plastic deli bag together and brandishing my prize. Before the car engine had even been started the skewer had been devoured in one, two, three bites and the wooden stick tossed with abandon over my shoulder (until I was told off by Mum for littering the car and made to reclaim it dutifully).

My love of chicken on a stick has not diminished into adulthood. I usually wait until summer’s barbecue season before overindulging in chicken kebabs but as soon as the first of January hit I have been hankering after the chicken satay skewers of yore, except done, hopefully, a little better.

I am still coming to terms with my horrendous computer crash, which I suffered just before Christmas. One of the most frustrating things about losing all my work is all the recipes which I had great ideas for that have now been lost in the ether. Hopefully though if I thought of them once, I might recall them one day again. There are some ideas though that even though they went down with my hard drive they have never been relegated to the recesses of my mind. These, must have been the best of the bunch and are the ones I am now excited to share.

Cashew Chicken Satay with Carrot and Coriander Salad

This Cashew Chicken Satay is one of those recipes. I don’t know when I first thought of it but like all my greedy thoughts it was hastily typed into my laptop and saved into a list of hundreds of recipes, destined for the kitchen far into the future. However, for some reason, this recipe has stayed with me and has been saved from destruction by my memory.

I was so happy then when it worked out just as I had hoped it would, in fact, if I may be so bold I think it worked out better and is definitely going to become a regular part of my mid-week repertoire. Cashew nuts are just as tasty as the more traditional peanuts in a satay. They are slightly sweeter so they lend a more tempered and delicately flavoured result but one I actually think I prefer despite being a fully paid up member of the Peanut Butter Forever fan club. This also means it’s suitable for most January detoxes which tend to eschew peanuts. There is nothing I like better than adapting a recipe for a healthy eating plan and finding you have lost nothing at all in the translation.

Cashew Chicken Satay with Carrot and Coriander Salad

I paired my Cashew Chicken Satay with a bright rainbow carrot salad, singing with fresh coriander, the bite of spring onions ,the occasional heat of green chilli and the zing of lemon juice. This kind of salad is perfect for January as it’s robust and crunchy and jam packed full of drizzly rain busting flavour and colour.

Cashew Chicken Satay with Carrot and Coriander Salad

Cashew Chicken Satay with Carrot and Coriander Salad
Serves 2

For the Cashew Chicken Satay:
2 chicken breasts
100g natural unsalted cashew nuts
a small piece of fresh ginger, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 shallots, peeled
1 red chilli
1 stalk lemongrass, outside woody part removed
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce or coconut aminos or tamari
2 teaspoons honey
100ml coconut milk

For the Carrot and Coriander Salad:
2-3 large carrots, grated
Handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Spring onions, roughly chopped
Green chilli, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon salt
black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Slice the chicken into strips and set aside whilst you prepare the satay sauce.
  3. Scatter the cashews onto a baking tray and toast in the oven for about 8 minutes. Remove the cashews from the oven and tip straight into a food mixer. Mix the cashews together to make cashew butter which could take up to 15 minutes but persevere until the cashews form a lovely smooth paste. (for more detail on making cashew butter see here).
  4. Add the fresh ginger, garlic, shallots, red chilli and lemongrass into the mixer and pulse everything together until smooth.
  5. Then add the ground coriander, turmeric, coconut oil, soy sauce and honey and mix again until you have achieved a smooth paste.
  6. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the satay sauce and set aside for making the pouring sauce later, cover and put in the fridge. Pour the rest of the satay sauce over the chicken pieces and rub into the chicken so that it’s thoroughly coated. Cover and place in the fridge for at least four hours but preferably overnight to marinate.
  7. Before you cook the chicken you can prepare the salad.
  8. Mix together the carrots, coriander, spring onions and chilli together in a large bowl.
  9. To make the dressing pour the lemon juice into a small glass and whisk up with the ground coriander, salt and pepper until the salt has dissolved. Carefully pour the olive oil in, whisking all the while until the dressing has emulsified. Pour over your salad and set aside whilst you finish the satay chicken.
  10. Turn your grill or griddle on to a high setting. Remove the chicken from the fridge and thread onto skewers until all the chicken has been used up. Place the chicken skewers under the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes each side.
  11. Whilst the chicken is cooking you can make the pouring satay sauce by taking your reserved 3 tablespoons of satay sauce and placing it in a small saucepan with 100ml coconut milk. Stir together and heat gently until it reaches a gentle boil. Remove from the heat.
  12. Serve your cashew chicken satay skewers over the carrot and coriander salad and drizzle over the satay pouring sauce.

Chicken and Leek Pie

Chicken and Leek Pie

What is November without a good pie? Cold, that’s what. Is there really any better internal heating system that a plate full of hot bubbling creamy chicken and sweet leeks adorned with a crisp and flaky buttered hat? The best part of any pie is of course where the lid meets the sauce, so that the puff pastry becomes chewy and saturated with all the beautiful flavours.

I have been making this pie for years, it’s a complete crowd and family pleaser, equally at home as part of a special mid-week treat or pride of place at a small supper gathering. It is chock full of chicken flavour because you poach a whole chicken with a host of vegetables to cook the chicken off first, then use the deliciousy deep stock as the base of the pie filling, thickened with flour then finished off with a generous amount of crème fraiche. Using crème fraiche instead of cream is second nature to me as I am a complete crème fraiche addict. I love the way it adds richness but is its own tempering agent, adding a tang which is complimented here by the addition of lemon zest and tarragon. You won’t need all the stock produced for the pie filling but that’s all the better so you have it to hand for your next recipe.

Chicken and Leek Pie

There are a few steps involved in this pie which is why I have absolutely no qualms about using shop bought puff pastry. Although it does have to be the all-butter variety which considering is what most recipes will ask you to use is quite hard to get. The supermarkets all sell the just-rol standard puff but that really isn’t good enough as it uses vegetable oil in place of butter and the pastry just doesn’t have the same quality. All the big supermarkets do stock the all-butter variety, it’s just that it sells out very quickly. If you get the ready rolled all-butter puff pastry then you really will be laughing.

Chicken and Leek Pie

Don’t feel that you have to do all the steps of the pie at once either. Poach the chieken the day before, or make the filling the day before. It’s a recipe that can happily be broken down into manageable chunks.

Chicken and Leek Pie

Of course the obligatory accompaniment to pie is quite obviously mashed potato but don’t let that become your go-to every time. I love a bit of white rice with this pie, especially if you serve it with a mound of buttered broccoli. If you are going the mash route then make sure you don’t forget the greenery, shredded savoy cabbage with a glistening diamond of butter on the top. For a lighter meal then forgo the carbs entirely, as long as you have the greens to eat with your pie then you’ll be a happy camper.

Chicken and Leek Pie

Chicken and Leek Pie
Serves 6

Poached Chicken and fresh stock ingredients

1 whole chicken
2 x Bay leaves
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
A handful of fresh parsley stalks
2 cloves garlic
1 large onion, cut in half
1 leek, cut in half
2 large carrots, cut in half
2 sticks celery, cut in half
¾ teaspoon salt
6 black peppercorns

Pie ingredients

1 large onion, diced
1 stick celery, diced
2 leeks, halved lengthways then chopped into semi circles
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon thyme leaves strimmed of their stalks
2 tablespoon sfinely chopped tarragon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon butter
1 tsp olive oil
½ teaspoon lemon zest
3 heaped tablespoons plain flour
A good splash of vermouth
400ml stock from the poached chicken
The chicken from the poached chicken
150ml crème fraiche
a pinch of cloves
a pinch of nutmeg
320g ready rolled all-butter puff pastry
1 egg

Poaching the chicken

  1. Take the whole chicken and remove giblets and string if it has them. Place the chicken in a large stockpot along with the onion, the leek, the carrots and the celery. Also pop in the garlic cloves, bay leaves, thyme and parsley stalks.
  2. Fill the stockpot with cold water so that it covers the chicken, throw in a fair amount of salt and black pepper and bring to the boil. Leave the chicken to simmer for between 50 minutes – 1 hour depending on how large the chicken is.
  3. Remove the chicken from the stock and leave until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile leave the stock simmering for a further 1 hour depending on how much time you have so that the flavours further intensify.
  4. Whilst the stock is continuing to simmer away, shred the chicken away from the bones. Discard the skin and all the bones. Set the meat aside until you need it.
  5. Once the stock is ready, remove from the heat, strain and discard the vegetables. Set the stock aside until you need it.

The Pie

  1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan until the butter has melted. Fry the onion and celery gently for about 15 minutes or when the veggies go translucent. Add the leeks, garlic, lemon zest, the tarragon, some fresh thyme leaves and the bay leaf to the pan. Give everything a good stir then continue to fry gently for 15 minutes or until the leeks are softened.
  2. Add the flour and mix well into the leeks until all the flour has been absorbed by the mixture. Stir continually with a wooden spoon letting the flour cook through for a few minutes. The mixture should be quite sticky with no buttery liquid left in the pan.
  3. Pour in the vermouth and continue stirring for a couple of minutes until the wine has been absorbed.
    If the stock which you made when you poached the chicken has cooled, reheat on the stove. When it’s boiling pour about 400ml of it into the pan. Turn the heat of the pan up high and continually stir quite hard so all the lumps in the flour dissolve into the stock. Once the flour has dissolved, the mixture is thick and bubbling at a nice consistency, turn the heat down to simmer.
  4. Now switch the oven on to 180°C.
  5. Simmer for 5-10 minutes then add the poached chicken and the crème fraiche. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Simmer for about 10 minutes to let the flavours get to know each other then turn off the heat and pour into a 20cm round and deep pie dish
  7. Take the puff pastry and cut a thick strip to place on top of the lip of your pie dish. Then place the rest of the pastry on top, cutting away the excess. Tuck onto the pie filling and pinch to the pastry on the lip of the dish.
  8. Whisk the egg and then brush over the top of the pie.
  9. Place the pie in the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the pastry top is golden brown.